Addressing Health Misinformation: Lessons from 2020
In early December 2020, Full Fact co-hosted with Facebook a virtual conference titled ‘Addressing Health Misinformation: Lessons from 2020’.
This event brought together representatives from industry, academia, media, healthcare and government to discuss the health misinformation challenges experienced in 2020 and to share best practice suggestions.
2020 was an unprecedented year for health information. As Covid-19 spread across the world, a flurry of false and misleading information followed.
We saw in real time the risks that came with not understanding how the virus was transmitted or how to protect oneself from it.
Into 2021, it is clear that there is much still to do. There is an increasing worry that false information about vaccines will hinder immunisation efforts, particularly in key high risk groups such as BAME communities.
Multiple vaccines have been approved for distribution in the UK, and in the coming months we are likely to see more approved, or tweaked in response to emerging mutations.
Information about the efficacy and safety of each will need to be carefully communicated, as the UK implements the most ambitious vaccination programme in recent history.
The virtual conference was held under Chatham House rules. A report on the event, written by staff at Full Fact, summarises the conversations held over two days without attribution of specific points made by any individuals or organisations.
We highlight eight recommendations for tackling future health misinformation:
1. Make good information available
2. Use a range of trusted voices to communicate information
3. Collaborate through sharing information
4. Take action to suppress misinformation narratives
5. Approach the problem holistically
6. Monitor for future threats
7. Put in place measures to build long term resilience
8. Invest in research for the future
Full Fact and Facebook would like to thank all of those who gave up their time to contribute to the discussion over the two days in December.